I started using All About Spelling in our homeschool 3 years ago. I started the Little Gymnast on it when she was struggling to learn to read in first grade. She has dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and ADHD. She could spell words and wanted to spell words but couldn’t read the words she spelled back to me. At the end of the first grade she couldn’t read any words. She would sound it out and then guess a totally different word. When I stumbled on All About Spelling I was looking for a slow moving spelling program with lots of review and time for new rules to process. I was hoping to teach her how to read through spelling without her realizing it. The language program we were using before this was wonderful but was like drinking from a fire hose for her.
What is All About Spelling? (from their website)
- All About Spelling is multisensory. The lessons involve sight, sound, and touch. Children learn best when they are physically involved in the learning process, so we take advantage of that fact with this hands-on approach to learning and teaching spelling.
- All About Spelling is logical. Spelling concepts are taught in a logical, understandable order. Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson. The sequence has been carefully tested to produce long-term results. And this is as much a benefit to you as it is to your student—especially if you’ve been struggling with how to teach spelling.
So what do we love about it. The kids love the colored tiles. They are so much fun to work with. At the beginning of a lesson the student uses the colored tiles to build the new spelling words. But these aren’t just the letters a-z, every phonogram is a tile. My kids love to build and analyze words with the tiles. It’s not like school. And there are lots of other multi-sensory activity ideas on their website to try. Some of our favorites are writing words on a window with a dry erase marker or on the sidewalk with chalk.
What I love as the teacher is the student cards and the teacher’s manual. The student cards are broken up into:
- Phonogram Cards for learning to read the phonograms
- Sound Cards for learning to write the phonograms
- Key Cards for learning the spelling rules
- Word Cards for mastering the spelling words
There are three sections to keep track of the cards. Cards to review, mastered cards and future cards. I no longer have to keep up with that by memory or on a sheet of paper. I just file the cards behind the divider where they belong. It seems like a simple thing but it is one of the things that sold me on the program and I still love it. Reviewed cards are reviewed daily or weekly, mastered cards are reviewed a couple of times throughout each level.
I also love the teacher’s manual. I don’t have to think about how to teach the lesson. The lessons are scripted for you. Say this and do this with the tiles. All About Spelling uses dictation in every lesson to keep previously mastered words reviewed so they are not forgotten.
But this doesn’t have to just be a spelling program. I used All About Spelling with the readers to teach the Karate Kid how to read. The readers that go along with the program are beautiful and interesting. The Karate Kid loves the readers. He has read The Runt Pig book many times over. The stories are silly and catchy and the illustrations are beautiful. The lessons are short and ordered and he hasn’t dreaded the lessons, unlike other programs I’ve tried. All About Spelling has helped the Little Gymnast learn to read. After three years of the program we are now half way through level two. She has struggled with a couple of the steps and we spent a long time practicing those steps. One in particular was consonant blends. She could not hear the second consonant. Marie, author or All About Spelling, knew this was a difficult thing for some kids and had a great activity in the book for helping kids realize they missed a sound. The gymnast had lots of fun jumping on paper squares and saying the sounds. She has continued to make progress in reading and spelling through the program.
Lastly, it was very appealing to me that there is a one year guarantee. If this program didn’t work for us we could send it back even after trying it for a year. How can you lose? Most companies only give you a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, you may or may not know if it is working. But a year? I knew after a year of using this program it was the one for us.